Sunday, December 01, 2019

Forest loss from 2000 - 2018

The red dots on the pic above represent Nova Scotia's forest loss from 2000 to 2018.

That's a lot of trees.

Some of cuts were for development.  Many were forestry clearcuts and presumably will grow back with a new crop of trees.

I've walked thru a few clearcuts.  The ones I've been in never seem to come back anywhere close to the type of forest that was there before the clearcut.  Maybe you've had a different experience?

Nova Scotia Needs Forestry -- if we're cutting valuable timber down and its not coming back in a usable form, where are the trees going to come from?

* * *

A big shout out to everyone who responded to my last post

The picture comes from an online resource called Global Forest Change  They use satellite imagery to measure forest loss, forest gain and percent of forest cover --- for the entire planet.  The interface is a Google Map so its very easy to navigate.  Its also very fast on my very slow internet connection :-)

I compared our personal experience with clearcuts with the results from the Global Forest Change map for Lunenburg County and it was spot on -- and a whole bunch more that I couldn't see from the road.


'Scenic' Drives

Monday, November 18, 2019

Any backroad in Lunenburg County

My wife and I have been exploring the backroads of Lunenburg County.

There are many.

And after 30 years, we figured it was time to check them out.

So this fall (2019) we have traveled many sketchy, backroads around the County finally seeing what they're about.

The fall colours were stunning, so many beautiful lakes, hilltop farms, gorgeous old stone work.

And clearcuts.

So many clearcuts.

Imagine driving into a new town and on the first road you hit a pothole.  The next road you turn onto -- same thing -- you hit another pothole.  The next turn you hit two BIG potholes.  And so on.

You'd probably say something like 'hmmmm ... not sure who takes care of the roads around here but they do a pretty sh***y job'

It got so bad that on our drive last weekend my wife said to me 'that's a nice stand of trees, I wonder how long that will be there?'

And if you want to get a bigger perspective, checkout the latest version of Google Maps.  They are from this year and the resolution appears to be higher so details -- like clearcuts -- are much more obvious.

If you use Chrome and have a good connection, this link provides an interesting perspective as you 'fly' over the county

I appreciate that we need forestry.  I live in a wooden house.  And neighbours work in the sector.

But is this kind of cutting sustainable?  Please, let me know.

Because from the seat of my vehicle, it looks like its going fast.


Friday, March 08, 2019

My son and his wife now own and manage the 150 acre farm/forest that was the start of this project.

My wife and I have moved to a nearby small house along Wentzell Lake that includes about 2 acres of Acadian Forest.  I suspect our current property was part of the farm in the initial grant.

My plan is to document what we have here using iNaturalist.  The entries should show up on a sidebar.

A very different lifeblood along the lake and the shores of the LaHave River.  Let the journey begin!


Spring Arrived

Monday, April 30, 2018

Red Maple Blossoms
Recently we've had snow, freezing rain and general yucky weather.

But on Monday, there was the first 'peep.........................peep...........................peep'

Tuesday was 'peep..peep..peep...'

Wednesday 'PeepPEEPpeepPeEpPEEPPEEP...'

The birds are going crazy.  Early in the week a woodpecker was desperately calling for a mate and two passed today heading for a tree with large nesting cavities.

The Red Maple blossoms are spectacular.

And we spotted our first snake.

Spring in Nova Scotia ... a slow starter but watch out once it gets rolling!


I'm taking a break from the blog for awhile, I'll be back later this year ... enjoy your spring and summer!


Biodiversity III - Our Turn

Monday, April 23, 2018

New Forest Biodiversity Field Guide
After my ill-fated attempt at a [ Biodiversity post ], I took an eight week course called [ Biodiversity and Global Change: Science & Action ]  from the University of Zurich thru [ Coursera ]

An excellent course, the three most important things I learned were :

  1. biodiversity works -- the science shows that more variety results in a healthier, more robust environment which will be even more important in a changing climate
  2. humans by far have the biggest impact on our planet
  3. humans also have the biggest ability to have a positive impact
There are big causes you can connect with such as the [ Convention on Biological Diversity

Or you can choose activities that directly affect you.  

This is where you may appreciate the new [ Field Guide to Forest Biodiversity Stewardship ] 

Very practical and action oriented, in the 131 pages you will find:

  • things in your forest that encourage diversity like cavity trees and coarse woody debris
  • special habitat like deer wintering areas and dens
  • water courses (golden for promoting diversity)
  • soil
  • species at risk
As a member of the species that currently sets the agenda, what are you going to do to make the world a little better place for all?


Silver Lining

Monday, April 16, 2018

Waterfals : w/o April 16
Silver Lining : setbacks have positive potential

With lots of enthusiasm for the potential to raise funds to help the fight against [ HWA ] , I started [ Giants of Nova Scotia ] back in February.

Things got off to a very encouraging start with lots of publicity and a flood of submissions to our photo contest for the 2019 calendar we would have for sale just before Christmas.

Then the reality set in.  That's 8 months away ... 35 weeks ... 245 days.

How could I ever keep any momentum over that time period?!?

My wife suggested I contact local Instagrammers about reposting their photos of trees and forests from around Nova Scotia.  Her experience had been very positive in the past ... maybe there would be some interest.

The response has been ... incredible.  So many talented photographers show our province in beautiful and creative ways.  I am so grateful for their support.

The format has evolved and I currently try to have a weekly theme -- last week was about getting back out on our our rivers and lakes and this week will be about waterfalls.  

There is always some connection to trees and/or the forest.

I can keep our message rolling --- 'celebrating the beauty of Nova Scotia's trees and forests...'

And every once in awhile there's a gentle message about invasive species and how you can help.

Feels more like gold than silver.

You can see our Instagram page (no membership required) at : [ ]


A Voice

Monday, April 09, 2018

1 + 1 = 5

Nova Scotia has over 30,000 small woodlot owners representing approximately 60% of the total forested area ... in a province that is 3/4s covered by trees.

You'd think there would be a powerful forest lobby, all working together to look after their interests.

Actually not.

There are many small associations/special interest groups with relatively small memberships.

It seems that we have a difficult coming together.

So why should a woodlot owner in Western Nova Scotia care about the new [ Western Woodlot Services Coop ] ?  A couple things come to mind:

  1. for a one-time fee of $100, you become part of the coop and have access to [ their services ]
  2. they are very inclusive about landowner values ... there is a place for everyone
  3. perhaps I'm naive, but my sense is that there is a movement in the forest sector to work together.  You can watch from the sidelines or be part of it
WWSC has assistance from the Nova Scotia Government for 5 years to get up and running.  If you feel that a group will look after your interests and voice your concerns, don't wait too long to show your support with [ a membership ]


HWA + Citizen Science

Thursday, March 29, 2018

If you see snowy, cotton-like growths, call 902-536-1022  / photo : Matt Smith

What's the big deal about Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA)?
  • it doesn't have any predators so once established there's no natural controls
  • it spreads very easily -- by wind, birds, by humans transporting wood
  • it has a track record of wiping out entire Hemlock forests

What does it mean for Nova Scotia?
  • the short answer is we don't know how it will progress
  • first discovered in South Western Nova Scotia summer 2017
  • Hemlocks are well established across the province
  • trying to determine the extent of infestation

Why should I care about Hemlock?
  • it has some commercial value
  • it is our oldest living tree and very important in the forest
  • if you fish ... it shades streams and rivers to keep the water cooler and healthier for fish
  • if you hunt ... hemlock groves are important habitat for wintering deer
  • if you are a naturalist ... important nesting habitat for birds
What can I do?
  • If you see a snowy, cotton-like growth on Hemlocks anywhere in the province, try and get a picture and call 902.536.1022

More information

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) are leading the efforts with HWA.  Ron Neville gave an update on HWA at the March 2018 Western Woodlands Conference at you can read it [here
  • You can see current reports on HWA in the Maritimes [here]